Flying ant day

Ant colonies produce winged sexuals and these individuals found new colonies. In order to start a new colony the new queens (or gynes) must mate. When environmental conditions are right, winged males and females leave all the ant colonies within an area. They then take to the air on a nuptial flight and mate.

The synchronised emergence of these flying ants has led to what's called "Flying ant day" - the day when all the winged sexuals leave existing ant colonies, mate and the females then go on to found new colonies.

Some people incorrectly believe that these winged ants are a different species from the ants in the colonies that they are more familiar with. This is not the case, the winged ants are the same species but are winged so that they can disperse and find a mate.

A photograph of alate (winged) ants mating.

A photograph of alate (winged) ants mating.
Photograph by Dave Parker licensed under Creative Commons.

Related terms

Related groups of terms

Related pages on this web site

See other words beginning with F

Browse terms by A-Z

Back to Glossary

If you have found this glossary useful please consider supporting the Amateur Entomologists' Society by becoming a member or making a donation.